family life

The Year I Learn to Garden

Many of my dad’s earliest and fondest memories were of time spent tending the garden with his grandfather. Gardening gave him a sense of connection: to his grandfather, to the earth, and to the Creator.

Dad in his garden

As far back as I can remember, I saw him in the garden: tilling, hoeing, planting. Sometimes I helped, like that spring when I was two years old and had so much fun planting corn that it showed up in houseplants, by the mailbox… everywhere my two-year-old self could think of!

I’ve never really learned to garden well. It’s been a half-hearted hobby, something I did lazily, but couldn’t seem not to do because it’s in my blood. Dad was my go-to gardening resource, and many of our conversations over the years were about peach trees and tomato plants and blueberry bushes and hot peppers and tillers and tools.

piggyback with Dad

I cannot think of gardening without thinking of my dad, and last year, after losing him a few weeks before spring began, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t even weed my flower beds, much less try to grow a vegetable garden.

But this year, I will learn to garden.

I will research…

  • how to build a compost bin, and how to make good compost.
  • how to plan a vegetable garden, and which plants need what.
  • when and how to grow lettuce, carrots, maybe even a potted avocado tree.
  • how to can/preserve what I do successfully grow.
  • how to keep bunnies (and the dog!) out of the veggie garden.
  • how to conquer black spot on my roses.
  • how to care for my peach tree, and keep pests off of it.

honeybee on peach blossoms

I will…

  • take better care of my garden tools and maybe invest in new ones.
  • get the kids involved and learning along with me.
  • be more diligent in tackling weeds before they take over the whole garden.
  • do all those things I already know to do but am often just too lazy to do.

There’s no way I’ll learn/do ALL of this in just one growing season, but I’ll start. Along the way, I’ll make notes of what else I need to learn, of what works and what doesn’t, of what I enjoy growing and what I don’t. Eventually I hope to become a Master Gardener, but that may have to wait a few years.

And when they are grown, I hope my kids will have fond memories of me in the garden, and maybe they’ll pass on the delight of gardening to their own children.

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Kim Vij @ The Educators' Spin On It

Sending hugs as you welcome spring and your new garden this year in honor of you Dad. We’d love to invite you to join along in our Kids in the Garden Series. All month long we’ve been sharing tips to get you started on the right foot and a few tips to get the kids involved too. March 31 is our #plantaseed day, we’d love to you join. Can’t wait to see your successes this year. It is true legacy to pass along to our children, even as we show them it’s always a learning process.


I’d love to read about your progress on all the things in your list. We have one of those compost barrels that you rotate, but it broke and I think I’d like to try a more traditional system. I have great memories of helping my parents in the garden too, but it’s not something that I’ve done much with my kids. I’m hoping to do more of it this year too since we’ll be removing the kids’ play yard (the only flat spot in our yard), but it might take us all summer just to get the space ready for… Read more »


Awesome plan! Best of luck!

Nicole M

Blog looks good!…nice article about your Dad and his garden. Blessings to you and your garden:)


It’s okay if you start out small. And it’s okay that you had to take a break during your first year of grieving the loss of your dad. My husband just lost his dad, too. It’s hard. May your new beginnings in gardening bring healing into your life as you remember your dad and his love of gardening.